Ohio’s water quality standards are set forth in Ohio Administrative Code (“OAC”) Chapter 3745-1 (the “Water Quality Standards”). The Water Quality Standards contain beneficial use designations, numeric levels and narrative statements protective of the use designations, procedures for applying the water quality criteria to wastewater dischargers and antidegradation procedures. See OAC Chapter 3745-1 and http://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/wqs/index.aspx.
In 2008, Ohio EPA made draft revisions to the Water Quality Standards available for public comment (the “Draft Rules Package”). Ohio EPA then proposed a subset of the proposed revisions from the Draft Rules Package to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (“JCARR”) in December of 2011. However, Ohio EPA withdrew the revisions from JCARR in early 2012 so the rules could be reviewed pursuant to Ohio’s Common Sense Business Initiative.
This spring, Ohio EPA offered a second chance for review and comment by the public of a limited subset of the Draft Rules Package. The public comment period ended on June 3, 2013. Ohio EPA is currently reviewing the public comments and considering changes to the rules. If, after reviewing the public comments, the Ohio EPA decides to proceed with the rule revisions, the agency will then file proposed rules with JCARR. The final rules may be adopted at the conclusion of the JCARR process.